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Rectify: Plato's Cave

Daniel: "Plato was onto something."
Janet: "He was considered fairly astute."

I'm captivated by the slow beauty of this story, which may be an odd thing to say considering the subject matter.

The allegory of Plato's cave was a perfect way to describe how Daniel saw only a twisted reflection of the real world in his prison cell. Now he has new glasses, and he is starting to see clearly and interact with his new reality. Especially with touch. There seems to be a sentence or two in every episode that hits me where I live. Here, it was what Daniel said to Tawney about what touch means to someone when you don't experience it, or when you experience only negative touching. Like when the guards held Daniel naked and screaming on the floor as they were taking away his books, his only connection to the outside world.

The prison flashbacks could be so ugly, but they're not. The backdrop is so stark that it puts the focus where it belongs, on the exceptional work of the actors. Filming from above made Daniel and Kerwin seem even more like trapped animals, while the dialogue showed how they transcended their captivity. A friend is a friend, even if you can't see or touch him. It was like Kerwin wanted Daniel to be free more than Daniel did himself. Or more accurately, Kerwin wanted it for Daniel because Daniel couldn't want it for himself.

Daniel and Tawney

Daniel stopped by to visit Tawney at the church that clearly means a lot to her, and the two of them had another intense and beautiful conversation: this time about fate and free will, life after death, Thomas Aquinas saying that God reveals himself in nature. And then they hugged, and Daniel was overcome by the sensation, although it didn't feel sexual to me. Tawney was filmed back-lit, her simple blonde hair style like a medieval halo, and they were talking in such a beautiful natural setting. Daniel called Tawney his Beatrice. Honestly, I could watch this show just to watch Daniel and Tawney talking. It's special.

Tawney wanted Daniel to find God, like she did. I'm not sure being born again is what Daniel needs, though. He didn't turn to God in prison, after all: he turned to books. He's still not reading on the outside, though. In this episode, Daniel went to a bookstore, and it was closed.

Daniel and Susan

I keep freaking a bit when Daniel wanders around town because he doesn't seem to realize the danger he is in. Nothing bad happened this time, though. The scene with his old school friend Susan was just beautiful. It was so kind of her to offer her body to him so honestly, and I was glad that he had the courage to accept. She had to know how much he needed a loving touch, and I think he was aware that he was fulfilling a fantasy of hers. I am already starting to think of Daniel as belonging to Tawney, and of course, Susan was married, but there was nothing tawdry about it.

Daniel and Janet

Like the previous adventure in the convenience store, I enjoyed watching Daniel experience Walmart. Aden Young is so good at looking around himself and making us see things as his character Daniel is seeing them. Fluorescent green flip-flops. An aisle full of brightly colored yarn. Things he hasn't seen in years that must look so alien to him. I especially liked the contrast of him playing his ancient Sonic the Hedgehog at home to the brand new game played by the little girl with the lighted sneakers.

Janet was having a hard time with it all. Even though she and Daniel exchanged some adorable banter in the store (a reflection, I would bet, of their pre-prison relationship) Janet was so rattled in the parking lot when the reporters were shouting at them that she couldn't get the key in the ignition. She's depressed and upset, not enjoying the experience of having her son back in her life. Is she worried that it will destroy her if he goes back to prison? Is she possibly afraid of him? There's something odd going on there.

Teddy and Tawney

To continue with our theme, the Teddy/Tawney marriage is only a reflection of a real relationship. But Teddy passed up an easy chance at infidelity to talk to Tawney on the phone, and he just wanted some conversation, some warmth, maybe some sexy talk. And Tawney had no interest in or desire to talk with him. Her heart is in her activities at church. I actually felt sorry for Teddy. Why are these two people married at all?


-- No one was talking about the dead bird that hit Daniel's window and wound up on the mailbox.

-- How wonderful that the DA's name is "Miss Person." Is she a person? As in, will she mindlessly pursue returning Daniel to prison, or will she even consider the possibility that he's innocent? Eighteen-year-old Daniel had gone eleven hours without a lawyer when he confessed. How could that have held up in court?

-- Sheriff Daggett began re-interviewing witnesses and started with Trey, who didn't change his story. If Trey really did kill Hanna, why did he lick his own business card and hand it to Daggett, providing the police with a free DNA sample? A show of innocence?

-- Interestingly, Trey mentioned a cancer drive just as he was putting chewing tobacco in his mouth. And there was a stuffed monkey hanging from his daughter's jungle gym. Lots of monkey references in the previous episode.

-- George's body still hasn't been found.

-- Susan the hairdresser asked Daniel about pen pal girlfriends in prison, a lot more appropriate and possible than Teddy's question about conjugal visits.

-- The guy at the tire conference was suggesting that Teddy commit fraud, wasn't he? Will Teddy take him up on it?


Amantha: "Such a show off."
Jared: "Why is efficiency considered showing off in the modern world?"

Kerwin: "You the most reluctant innocent man I've ever seen."

Daniel: "I think it's time."
Janet: "Time?"
Daniel: "Time we got into yarn."
Janet: "Oh my, yes. I just hope we're not too late."
Daniel: "Late?"
Janet: "The yarn bubble."
Daniel: "Well, we can always fall back on flipflops."

Pastor: "We just think the world of Tawney here. Of course, we just kind of put up with Teddy, you know?"
Daniel: "I understand."
Laugh out loud.

Daniel: "It does something to you, not to be touched in any positive way for so long. You begin to vacillate between being repelled by touch, and seeking it out in any form, even the most negative."

Tawney: "Was there a church in prison?"
Daniel: "There was. But I was only ever allowed visits by the chaplain."
Tawney: "So you would meet with him?"
Daniel: "I would have met with the executioner had he stopped by."

Tawney: "Did you ever talk about where you think you'll go when you die?"
Daniel: "It was kind of expected in the setting."

Tawney: "Could you ever accept Christ into your heart?"
Daniel: "I don't think Buddha would mind making room, or Confucius. Nietzsche might grumble."

Another excellent episode. Four out of four day glo flipflops,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I don’t really root for Tawney and Daniel as a romantic pairing --- sometimes I do root for couples, I swear! --- but I do really love their dynamic and connection. It is so important for Daniel to have someone he can talk to who doesn’t have any real notion of who he was before. And she’s so open and warm, and seems very engaged by his way of speaking and philosophizing, even when she doesn’t quite understand him. They see the world in the same heightened way, even though it comes from different experiences and beliefs. I like that they have each other to talk to about those differences. I could watch them talk for hours, too.

    Your take on Janet and Daniel is interesting. I don’t get the sense that she’s afraid of him or upset that he’s back. I think she’s just adjusting to this thing that she never expected. I thought their scenes together in this episode were really lovely and did a great job of fleshing out their likely past relationship. And him helping her to deal with the stress of the reporters at the car was wonderful. I really like the way they interact with each other. Not afraid or upset, just sort of tentative, awkwardly trying to find their way back into each other’s lives.

    I loved Daniel’s line, “Finding peace in the not knowing seems strangely more righteous than the peace that comes from knowing.” It fits so well with the way we, the audience, are left to process this show as a whole.

    I also love the music choices on this show. The operatic piece accompanying the visit to WalMart was fantastic.

  2. Okay, I'll bite, Jess -- name a television couple that you've actually shipped.

    Honestly, I'm practically certain Tawney was intended to be a romantic interest for Daniel.

  3. Does it have to be a couple that wasn't necessarily set up as "destined" for each other? Because I've rooted for couples like John and Aeryn from Farscape, Sheridan and Delenn from B5, and Ben and Leslie on Parks and Recreation. Glenn and Maggie worked for me immediately on TWD. I liked Bo and Dyson on Lost Girl (and eventually started rooting for a Bo-Dyson-Lauren threesome on that show). Jaye and Eric on Wonderfalls. I really rooted for Stark and Allison, Jo and Zane, and eventually Allison and Carter on Eureka. (I'm looking at the side list of our featured shows to come up with any others.) Do Sawyer and Juliet count, since the idea never really occurred to me until it was shown as a thing and I immediately fell in love with the pairing.

    You may be right about Daniel and Tawney, but I think the potential infidelity aspect of it troubled me, given that she's a person of such deep faith. And, in this case, I think exploring the "emotional" fidelity questions are even more interesting.

  4. As soon as I posted that comment, I remembered John/Aeryn and Glenn/Maggie. :) Hope that didn't sound snarky, but you do tend to tell me you don't ship anyone I ship. We're rarely on the same page there.

    I'd probably feel worse about the infidelity aspect of the Tawney situation if she weren't so obviously married to someone she doesn't want to be married to.

  5. No, not snarky at all! I had fun trying to come up with couples, because it does seem like I'm always anti-ship. :) In most cases, it is because I like having examples of men and women who are just good friends, with deep respect and filial love for each other, without it having to become romantic. That kind of thing happens all the time in real life and I wish there were more of it in our pop culture.

    But at the same time, I totally understand why people would root for a pair that is shown to have a deep emotional connection to be a couple. It's generally part of what we all want from our romantic partnerships, so it makes sense to want it for characters we care about. I definitely don't hold 'shipping against anyone.

    And I'm apparently not immune to the impulse! I was just looking at my old Wonderfalls reviews and I shipped Jaye and Eric super-hard. But they were clearly set up as romantic foils, so maybe that's different. I'm still trying to think of one where we got a pair that we met as good friends (or that became good friends) that I ended up wanting to be a romantic pairing. Hmmm ...

  6. I think I totally used the word "filial" wrong there. I meant non-romantic, "brotherly" love. Erg.

  7. "In most cases, it is because I like having examples of men and women who are just good friends, with deep respect and filial love for each other, without it having to become romantic. That kind of thing happens all the time in real life and I wish there were more of it in our pop culture."

    I totally agree, Jess! It doesn't bother me so much in this case as when characters have been friends with no hint at romantic feelings for a long time and writers seem to be itching to create another couple so they make it happen. But in general I appreciate relationships like Lily and Ted in How I Met Your Mother that are pure friendships between a man and a woman.

  8. >>"No one was talking about the dead bird that hit Daniel's window and wound up on the mailbox."
    Oh yeah, for what was a striking and slightly upsetting image of the bird crumpled on the box with the blood streak, I completely forgot about it within minutes.

    >>"And there was a stuffed monkey hanging from his daughter's jungle gym. Lots of monkey references in the previous episode."
    Somehow the most blatant reference yet because it's including not just monke but a jungle too which is what I think the monkeys were representing.
    May I remind you
    May I remind you
    May I remind you
    Your life is in a bubble jungle!

    The show is NOT slow by my standard, but
    >>"-- George's body still hasn't been found."
    Yeah jesus, how has it not popped up yet? Amazing.

    I loved that highschool contact of his, even though it's slightly fucked up that she's propositioning him for sex lol. But it was a wonderful scene to end the episode with. What I liked more though was the scene with Daniel and his mom, their resolution to the reporters being to just sit quietly in the car and no confrontation with a cathartic release. Dumb monke reporters get to pause and feel faintly embarrassed. Though I'm curious about whether Daniel really is this calm/level-headed by nature or it's one of the few good things along with Kerwin he took away from prison.


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